The Vancouver coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. Where else can you slide a kayak into the water and be off in your own little world minutes from downtown? Seeing seals, grey herons and other amazing wildlife is almost guaranteed on every outing. If you have not already tried kayaking then this is the year to get out on the water and discover the beauty of Vancouver from the comfort of a kayak.
Nine years ago, I talked to Bob Putnam at the Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre about creating an evening paddle sport race. After many weeks of scheming, plotting and planning we came up with a series of courses and one unbelievably low price for boat rentals that people could not refuse. Three seasons later, and the Deep Cove Paddle Series was the biggest paddling series on the planet with more than 100 athletes taking to the water each night.
Now in its ninth season, the series is in full swing. Each Tuesday night, paddling enthusiasts from all over the Lower Mainland converge on Deep Cove to paddle the short, super-fun course throughout the many small islands. Whether you are a seasoned paddler or have never even sat in a boat, these races are for you. You can paddle anything from a canoe to a sleek surf ski, and the low rental price of $15 for a single kayak or $20 for a double make it affordable for anyone. If you are renting, make sure you book ahead as the boats do book up. Check the website for more info at www.deepcovekayak.com.
If Deep Cove is too far for you to go after work, then check out the brand new weeknight paddle series in English Bay called the Big Chop Summer Paddle Series. Awesome race directors Bryan Tasaka and Ryan Pogue have teamed up to bring you a fun-filled race series every second Thursday starting in May. These evening races take you out onto the beautiful waters off English Bay where you can enjoy the amazing views and brilliant sunsets with the city as the perfect backdrop. Again, cheap rentals and race entry make this series an easy thing to do after a tough day at the office. Check them out at www.bigchop.ca.
If you are wondering what to wear when you head out to these events or any other paddling excursions, here are a few tips. Dress as if you are going for a run in the same type of conditions. Your lower body stays warm as it is in the boat protected from the elements. Up top, always bring a lightweight windproof, water-resistant jacket that you can throw on if the weather goes bad. Your life-jacket also keeps you warm. On your feet, wear either a pair of sandals or running shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, and always bring a set of dry clothes and shoes for the après paddle!
SRS XWing Carbon Paddle
Description: Paddle efficiently with this new all-carbon wing paddle from Simon River Sports. Amazingly strong, super lightweight, the two-piece EZ set design allows you to adjust the paddle length by 10 centimetres and paddle feather.
Price range: $420
Where to find it: www.simonriversports.com
Kokatat Orbit Tour PFD
Description: Super lightweight and low-profile design allows unrestricted movement while paddling. Canadian-government approved, reflective trim for safety and shoulder and side adjustments allow for a custom fit.
Price range: $145
Where to find it: www.kokatat.com
Columbia Women’s Spring Creek Jacket
Description: This lightweight jacket is water and wind resistant for those not so blue bird days. Stretch panels under the arms and down the sides provide excellent movement while you’re out paddling, biking or running.
Price range: $79.99
Where to find it: www.columbiasportswear.com
Holey Soles Explorer Shoe
Description: These wild shoes are amazingly light, super comfortable and are perfect for any sport or just hanging out. Air, sand and water move easily through the clog while the optional heel strap ensures they stay on your feet.
Price range: $27.99
Where to find it: www.holeysoles.com